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Old 06-11-2013, 06:10 AM   #1
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Default Primary fermenter temp

I have my primary fermenter set up in the basement, and because of cooler 62-65 F temps down there, I've included a heater band. This brings it up to approximate room temp. I'm brewing a simple ale and heard that slightly warmer temps are preferred compared with lagers. I'm a day and a half in and its fermenting nicely.

Should I keep the heater band on, or am I better taking it off for a cooler fermentation? I'm concerned the basement is a little on the cool side.


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Old 06-11-2013, 06:18 AM   #2
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Not sure what yeast you are using but it's usually listed on the packet what the optimum fermentation temp is. Personally if the room temp is actually between 62 and 65 I'd be pleased with that, fermentation in the primary will run warmer on its own.


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Old 06-11-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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At a day and a half in, it's probably too late to make any changes. While you are correct that ale yeasts need it warmer than lager yeasts, most of them give the best flavor if kept cooler. I like to keep my fermenter where the room is 62 to 64 and my ales come out with nice clean flavors. If I were doing lagers I would probably want the temperature closer to 50 degrees.

Let this batch ride as is but try the next one without the brew belt. I think you will like the difference it makes.

Here's an article that explains why I suggested you let this beer ride as is. http://www.brewgeeks.com/the-life-cycle-of-yeast.html
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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62-65 is a very good range for ales. i pretty much believe in using ale yeasts at the lowest temperature at which they will completely ferment the wort. i've been doing a lot in the 57-60 range, but that probably isn't appropriate for all strains.

save the heat belt for your belgians
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:26 PM   #5
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Cooper's ale yeast gets sluggish below 64F. But US-05 would be happy at the temps you describe. I've found that Wyeast 3056 Bavarian Wheat Blend likes lower 60's temps as well. Fermented pretty steady at the lower 60's range. So no heat belt was needed.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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I think your ambient temp is perfect- no need for the heat band. Fermentation itself generates heat, so the beer temp will be 3-7 degrees warmer than ambient anyway.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
I think your ambient temp is perfect- no need for the heat band. Fermentation itself generates heat, so the beer temp will be 3-7 degrees warmer than ambient anyway.
+1
But after active fermentation is finished, higher temperatures (maybe 70 - 72 degrees) would be good.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:38 PM   #8
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If I could go back in time to my first few brews (only back in January), I'd kick myself for wrapping my bucket with a heating pad...I kept my house temp at 62 degrees and thought that was on the low end and putting the heating pad would make it "happier". I didn't know that the heat from the fermenting would bring up the internal temps by 5 or more degrees.

Those few batches have an "off" taste to them and I contribute it to the excess heat.

I've since learned that temperature control is one of the most important factors in brewing (thanks to people here) and built an STC1000 controller for my extra fridge.

Anyway, I would just leave it without the heat belt if I were you.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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The trouble is that the 62-65 is perfect for most ale yeast, but active fermentation will put your wort in the 65-75 range. Once it slows down the wort temperature will drop and this is what can cause it to get stalled/stuck. You're better off with a gradually increasing temperature to help with attentuation. It might work better if you use the belt after fermentation has slowed, but monitor the actual beer temperature to be sure it doesn't get too warm.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:42 AM   #10
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It looks like everyone is recommending the same thing here. Thanks for the tip. Hopefully this batvh turns out okay, but I'll lower it next time (and invest in a couple thermometers... room ambient and primary)


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